According to the American College of Physicians, approximately 20 percent of new physicians create their own practice. While autonomy is one of the main benefits of a solo practice, it can be difficult for a small provider to shoulder the financial and technological demands necessary to succeed with smaller budgets and fewer resources. Thankfully, there are many options for solo practices that are both affordable and beneficial.
One of the most useful tools for single providers is a practice management system. InformationWeek calls such a system an “essential” investment for solo practices. The software enables users to manage the day-to-day operations of a medical practice. Most practice management systems allow users to record patient information, schedule new appointments, process insurance claims, send out bills and create administrative reports for staff members. Practice management software can also store health records, along with lists of insurance companies, providers, referring physicians, and more.
Here are three key areas in which a practice management system benefits single provider practices.
1) More efficient operations
Because practice management software provides an overview of day-to-day details such as patient appointments and staff reports, it serves as a helpful point of reference for tasks that have yet to be completed. Such systems also safeguard against forgetting important details, and can keep a checklist of yet-to-be-completed tasks. Because small practices often lack the resources of hospitals or larger offices, software can significantly help staff members manage their daily workflows.
2) Easier access to records
Practice management software stores important data in a safe, easily accessible location. Rather than using an outdated method such as a filing cabinet, such systems allow practices to keep digital copies of important information. If a doctor has a question about a referring physician, or a past medication, he or she can access the information almost instantly. Staff members can also easily find insurance and billing information. When team members can find relevant documents, the practice can operate in an accurate, timely manner.
Many software systems are linked to electronic medical records. These records, of course, are used primarily for proper diagnosis and treatment. Having a digitalized copy of patient records allows providers to quickly access pertinent information in order to guarantee an accurate diagnosis. Many solo practices use free, cloud-based software, such as Kareo or Practice Fusion, which allow workers to easily schedule appointments, complete insurance, store patient information, and more. While practices can choose between traditional client-server and cloud-based alternatives, many prefer the flexibility that the latter option provides. If users need to access data remotely or want to avoid the cost associated with in-house servers, cloud-based systems are now a viable (and possibly superior) alternative.
3) Simplified billing
Practice management software allows practices to easily bill patients and process claims. Popular solutions, such as Epic’s Resolute Professional Billing system, allow users to easily complete financial transactions. They also provide an overview of past transactions. Many online practice management systems can be integrated with patient portals or comprehensive EHRs, and allow patients to access their bills through a secure online site. This helps decrease payment time and keeps patients notified of any problems.
Practice management software helps medical offices run more smoothly, stores data in a safe location, and allows practices to easily bill patients. Proper implementation of the system will enable practices to transition from old, outdated methods to new methods. The system will improve efficiency and accuracy and provide easier access to relevant data. As such, it is a worthwhile investment for small practices.
Whether your practice opts for a traditional client-server or a cloud-based alternative, the system will enable you to serve your clients more effectively. As a result, solo practices should consider the merits of utilizing practice management software.